The U.S.'s next big thing (shh!) 

April, 22, 2010

American soccer fans have always been quick to anoint promising youngsters as The Next Big Thing. It's a pressure that more than a few prodigies, most notably Freddy Adu, have crumbled under. Which is why we tackle the subject of Emerson Hyndman with caution.

If you haven't heard of Emerson Hyndman yet, here's a little background. He's the 14-year-old grandson of FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman, and he first popped up on the national radar a little more than two years ago when, at age 11, word got out that he was headed to England for an audition with Newcastle United of the Premier League. This news story (and the video embedded in it) helps explain what scouts were so excited about.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.